Days of song and games

55th annual Mancos Days starts Friday with a kids parade and features music running late into the night

Shad Bellmire of Cortez, left, after Pamela Smith of Mancos canceled his three-point shot with one of her own in a game of Corn Hole during the 2013 Mancos Days. Enlargephoto

Mancos Times file photo

Shad Bellmire of Cortez, left, after Pamela Smith of Mancos canceled his three-point shot with one of her own in a game of Corn Hole during the 2013 Mancos Days.

Pancake tosses, western art, friendly sporting events and local music promise to bring plenty of opportunities for fun this weekend at 55th annual Mancos Days.

Events start Friday morning with a kids parade, and the events will run through the Sunday afternoon concluding with a water fight.

The popular annual tournaments are on tap, offering plenty of friendly competitions. With 14 teams signed up, the softball tournament can't accept more teams, but there are plenty of other opportunities for the athletically inclined this weekend.

Registration for the 2-mile fun run opens Saturday at 6:45 a.m., and racers can sign up at Grand Avenue and Mesa Street. The course promises to be a fairly easy loop, said Leslie Hopkins, an organizer.

Saturday's 3-on-3 volleyball tournament is also open to same-day registration, and all the proceeds will go to benefit the family of Brianna Schmittel, a Mancos resident who died in a motorcycle crash in June.

Five teams have signed up for the tournament, but organizers Daria Sparks and Dylaina Morelli expect more for the light-hearted competition, which draws many people who haven't touched a volleyball in years.

Adult games offer an even less serious challenge with an pie-eating contest, pancake tossing and tug of war.

Games for kids will be held Friday starting in at 11 a.m. will challenge kids to climb a greased pole, and dig through wood shavings for cash in the money pit among other old-fashioned games. The games aim to bring back old-fashioned fun.

Another new attraction is a big enclosed dinosaur bounce house, which will be available for kids in the park, said Heather Alvarez, the town clerk. Returning attractions include the traditional kids train and giant inflatable balls, reminiscent of human hamster balls.

"It is actually a ton of fun," Alvarez said.

These are some of a wide variety of about 26 vendors expected at the event. This year, the festival food offerings include Yiayia, a Greek food vendor, Sweetwater Gypsy wood-fired pizza, Navajo tacos and Italian cream sodas.

Artistic activities will not be lacking, with two art receptions and public art projects.

Welder and artist Bonnie Loving has been giving horse shoes new life as decorative furniture pieces for the 10 years since she graduated from college. She is the latest craftsman to join the Artisans of Mancos and said she approached the board because of her love for local art.

Representational oil painter Elizabeth Kinahan, who focuses on the animals and plants of the West, will also have her opening reception at Olio on Saturday. The Durango-based painter works to exposes the soul of each subject, according to her artist statement.

The public is invited to get involved in the local art scene and help create two collaborative art projects on Saturday, said organizer Liz Bohm.

Families and individuals can help decorate horse shoes that will be combined into a singular art piece and triangular flags and that will be strung together. The flags will be strung along the river to draw attention to it, she said.

"Those are the two things we're focusing on to keep it simple and accessible," she said.

Local music will also be showcased all weekend, with several performances each day. Organizer Gina Roberts worked to bring in performers across genres.

The heavy-metal and alternative rock band Arsenic Kitchen will be part of Friday night's entertainment. The band will releases its first album at Mancos Days featuring all original songs, said lead guitarist Blake Miller.

The group formed last year and got a warm welcome at the July 4 activities.

"We didn't think everybody would be as open as they were," Miller said.

The group leans toward an alternative rock sound similar to Sleeping with Sirens or A Day to Remember, he said. The group has worked to gain traction this summer with upcoming performances at the Sky Ute Casino and Escalante Days.

Some of the more well known local bands include The Moetones, which will play Saturday starting at evening as part of the day's up-tempo theme. The more low key western and folksinger lineup on Sunday will feature The Porchlights, Donny Johnson, The Family Rasmussen Family and Marilyn Kroeker.

A complete schedule of events can be found online at

Mancos Days starts Friday morning with a kids parade. Enlargephoto

File photo

Mancos Days starts Friday morning with a kids parade.

Young cowboys dressed for a Paint Your Wagon theme during a recent Mancos Days. Enlargephoto

File photo

Young cowboys dressed for a "Paint Your Wagon" theme during a recent Mancos Days.